Despite all the naysayers and doubters, it would appear the Orioles were right again. Just over two months ago, many were blasting the O's for attempting to restructure a contract with right-hander Yovani Gallardo. Now, with the 30-year-old on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, it would appear they had something to squawk about. Clearly, I'm not a doctor, and even if I was, I didn't see the results of Gallardo's physical back in February or examine his shoulder after his short start in Kansas City on Friday. But sometimes things are about perception. The Orioles had an idea that there might be something wrong with Gallardo's shoulder when they attempted to sign him this winter, and now that there's an injury to his shoulder, it appears they may have been right.
This isn't the first time the O's have done this type of thing. The team has a rich history of turning away from players because of something physical. From Aaron Sele to Jeromy Burnitz to Grant Balfour, they've mostly been proven right each time. I understood some of the national pundits going after the Orioles, claiming it was really buyer's remorse after agreeing to a deal with Gallardo. But I also understood the team not wanting to invest so much money in an asset they believed might break down. It's easy for fans to say, "It's not my money, why should I care?" But the truth is, it is someone's money. It's nice that someone cares.
Gallardo left Friday's outing after just two innings, and reported discomfort in that throwing shoulder. He told reporters that it started during his pregame warmup and worsened as the game went along. That's about as concerning as it can sound for a team that is already struggling in the starting pitching department. All indications are that Gallardo could be back in action in about a month, but obviously there's no guarantee of that. The O's will welcome Kevin Gausman back to the rotation, but this is a unit that remains shorthanded. It's the first time Gallardo has gone on the disabled list with an injury related to his arm, perhaps a product of his years of durability. Again, this is all speculation. I'm no doctor and I don't play one on television. But perception plays a role here when you are talking about his track record combined with the events of February. Even if Gallardo only misses a few weeks and returns, the production needs to be there. It's the type of scenario that looks ominous from a distance. Either way, the O's are still on the hook for paying Gallardo $22 million over two seasons.
That's perhaps the bigger issue when it comes to Gallardo's signing. It wasn't so much that they signed a veteran pitcher, but that they waited so long into the offseason to sign that pitcher. Gallardo was left on the market for quite some time, in part because he had declined a qualifying offer from the Texas Rangers and required draft pick compensation to sign. The other part was that many in the know saw a decline in production from him. Part of that was a decline in velocity, something manager Buck Showalter spoke about following Gallardo's departure from Friday's game. Gallardo was perhaps the starter you were most concerned about entering the season, partially because you didn't know what he could bring to the table. If the Orioles signed a pitcher that can't physically hang anymore, that's an issue. The even larger issue that looms is that there is no one immediately ready to step in and replace him. At this point, you'd just be thankful that the Orioles saved some money on a player that may be on the shelf for some time.
Andrew Stetka blogs about the Orioles for Eutaw Street Report. Follow him on Twitter: @AStetka. His thoughts on the O's appear here as part of MASNsports.com's continuing commitment to welcome guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.
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